Black Bears Have North Jersey Residents On Edge

POMPTON LAKES, NJ (CBSNewYork/AP) – It’s a wee bit early, but perhaps the recent warm spell has roused sleepy hungry bears and lured them from their winter dens.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reports from Passaic County

Police have received at least 30 calls a day over the past month from residents reporting bear sightings. On the front page of The Record, a photo shows two black bears scurrying across Newark-Pompton Turnpike in Riverdale.

“They’re walking into the main streets, the sidewalks, front yards, backyards, climbing over fences, climbing up trees,” Pompton Lakes Det. Lt. Steve Siefreid told 1010 WINS.

“We saw a bear going through someone’s garbage,” Pompton Lakes resident Dale Murphy told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan. “We turned around quickly and went back.”

One woman said she has been seeing “a mother bear and two cubs” for about two weeks.

“At the beginning, what we would do is hit the siren on the police car and they’d run back into the woods but now it appears that they’re getting much bolder and they’re coming into the residential neighborhoods,” Det. Lt. Siefreid said.

Scott Santers of Pompton Lakes says that wildlife officials came out and said that as long as they’re not aggressive or significantly damaging things, there’s nothing they can do.

“I know they’re fuzzy, cute little creatures but they’ll make your face look like you shaved with a food processor,” Siefreid said. “A bear is a big animal it can do a lot of damage.”

Folks are surprised to see black bears this early in residential neighborhoods.

State Fish and Wildlife biologist Kelcey Burguess says the New Jersey suburbs offer bears a smorgasbord of garbage and birdfeeders.

Police say secure your trash, watch your pets, and be bear aware.

“Use common sense. Just keep the kids away, keep the animals away and we shouldn’t have any problems at all,” Det. Lt. Siefreid said. “If we could take away their source of food, they’ll go elsewhere to look, and that’s what we’re hoping – they go back into the woods.”

Burguess says the busiest time is breeding season at the end of May and June.

Some 591 bears were killed in a state-sanctioned hunt in early December, but it’s expected a burst of new cubs will replace the bears.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Sean Adams
  • art

    I agree the Black Bears are not agressive I am more afraid of the humans around , so leave the cops alone with the bs .
    who told the people to buy a house in the wilderness sell and move to the inner city if your gonna have a big mouth

    • doris

      I agree leave the cops alone and learn to live with the bears

  • liz falco

    I really think your news team should do some research on Black Bears and stop portraying them as dangerous,the fact is that they are timid by nature and are easily frightened off by humans .People need to know that they need to keep thier pets from roaming outside and keep their garbage cans secured. If they have bird feeders it will attract bears so refrain from putting out seed in the spring, There is enough natural food for the birds to eat. I would hope that no one would leave thier kids unattended in their yards to begin with.There are much worse things that could happen to unattended children than seeing a black bear!

  • Emm

    I live in West Milford where the bears have been around for years. They are not aggressive unless you get between a mother and her cubs. I work very early in the morning and have scared~tripped over~and run into the bears in our yard. I don’t encourage them, feed them, or threaten them. I do respect them. I’ve never gotten so much as a scratch from a bear. My dogs and son have never been threatened or hurt by a bear. Leave them to do their thing, and you do your own. Learn how to live with them because they aren’t going anywhere, and the police have better things to do. Black bears, unlike many other breeds, are not aggressive unless provoked.

  • american kookly

    Black bears have all the right to roam wherever they please and the mama bear can search wherever she pleases to feed her cubs. How dare you residents of large houses have negative words for the bears. They too are looking to feed their young cubs.

    • Marion Nigro

      you are crazy. let them hang out in your yard. i like my dog and myt grandchildren.

  • Lester Krinklesac

    those ain’t no bears. thems is squirrels. can’t you city folk tells the defferance

    • RabidSquirrel

      Woot! Woot!

  • jerseyjoey

    shoot em

    • Marion Nigro

      if it were legal i would agree

    • RabidSquirrel

      They make nice rugs.

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